The One about the POD

For someone who claims to be writing a blog about writing, my posts thus far have been television related. Which, of course, goes to show partially why I never get any writing done. But that’s neither here nor there.

My first official writing post.

So, POD publishing. Print on Demand. In years past, I think a lot of people felt that POD publishing was the kiss of death for an aspiring writer. It was as if, because an author couldn’t get a traditional contract and had to pay to have their book published, it made them less of a writer.

Look, I know what you’re thinking. But, I previously worked for a subsidy (“vanity”) publisher and had defend POD publishing as part of my job. You have no idea how many times a day I heard, “So, tell me why I should pay to publish my book.”

There are pros and cons to everything, kids. Yes, even pros and cons to traditional publishing. The big publishing houses know this. And I think, in today’s publishing world, things are starting to change. I think some authors are trying to take control of their books and their options. There are actually a lot of good options out there–and if you’re willing to put out money, do lots of footwork, lots of your own publicity (even on top of what your POD might offer you) and be realistic with your expectations, you can do pretty well for yourself.

Of course, there’s no guarantees. But then, there are no guarantees in traditional publishing either. No publishing company–not traditional, not POD, not subsidy, not E-Book–can guarantee you will ever sell one book. And listen to me: if they do, you need to run. The public is fickle. Just look at American Idol.

In the end:

My Top Three Reasons for Picking POD

1. You retain your rights. You aren’t selling your rights away; you retain ownership of your book, your characters, etc. Be sure to check your contract though, as there may be language included about subsidiary rights and the like.

2. You retain creative control. Don’t like the page or cover proofs your POD sent you? They’ll change them. Remember, you get what you pay for: if you don’t like something, let them know. It’s your money they are using to fund the creation of your book. Don’t sign off on anything until you’re absolutely happy with it, whether it be the font size or the color of the title.

3. Higher earnings. Everyone gets a piece of the pie. Typically, POD is going to give you a higher earnings rate than a traditional house. Check your contract though, as every POD is offering different percentages. Keep in mind, too, that percentages are going to vary depending on how the book is sold (i.e. hard copy verses ebook).

POD publishing isn’t for everyone. To be honest, I’m not sure POD publishing is even right for me at this point in my life, as I don’t have free time to do the necessary footwork. But I think that here, in 2012, POD publishing is a viable option for authors. Just understand what you’re getting into, understand what your contract offers/doesn’t offer, and be realistic with yourself. You took the time to write your book and, if you’re picking POD, you need to take the time to pick the contract that is the best fit for you and your goals. And in that respect, POD and traditional really aren’t that different.


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